UK Naturalisation: Have You Made Any Previous UK Immigration Applications in the UK or Abroad?


Aspiring to live, work, and/or study in the UK notwithstanding you’re a non-British national? You can achieve that through UK Naturalisation. The British naturalisation process involves a series of steps, each of which you should be careful to provide all the required details factually. Otherwise, your application can be rejected. 

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The UK naturalisation application should be done through the Home Office, the UK ministerial department that will decide the fate of any immigration application. Upon the evaluation of your application, especially its compliance with the British Nationality Act 1981, the Home Office will approve or reject your application. A successful application will culminate with the issuance of a Certificate of Naturalisation

Considering that the naturalisation application is normally costly and the payments involved are not refunded, you need to do everything possible to maximise the chances of the acceptance of your application by the Home Office. 

How to answer – Have You Made Any Previous UK immigration Applications in the UK or Abroad?

A UK naturalisation application contains many questions. One of the most important ones requires you to disclose if you have made any UK immigration applications in the UK or abroad in the past. 

If you’ve ever filled in a UK naturalisation application, most likely you’ve encountered this question. UK immigration solicitors regularly receive many enquiries for clarification on this question from various individuals who are applying for British naturalisation. 

You are likely to find this question confusing. 

Should You Just Say Yes or No?

First, you need to say just yes or no to the question. If you answer yes, you will then need to provide further details and specific information about the applications. 

Suppose it’s a yes, do you have to disclose the information of all the UK visa applications you’ve made in the past? 

Are you expected to list all the previous UK immigration applications you’ve made in the UK or outside the country? 

Just like many others who have applied before you, you are likely to have misread or misunderstood the question. You might think you’re required to list all the immigration applications you’ve made while in the UK or any other country. However, that’s not the information the Home Office expects from you.

The applications that are being considered here are those that are exclusively for getting UK or British citizenship through naturalisation. Whether you made the application(s) while in the UK or abroad, they do count as far as answering this question is concerned.

Therefore, save yourself the hassle of trying to list each immigration application you’ve made, that is not necessary when applying for British naturalisation. Just focus on the immigration applications you’ve previously made to the UK Home Office. 

Which Information Should I Provide About My Previous UK Immigration Applications?

There’s a structured way in which you’re supposed to describe your past UK immigration application to the Home Office:

Specifically, you’ll include: 

  • The applicant’s names that were used in each of the applications
  • The dates of each of the applications (if known)
  • The Home Office reference number given for each of the applications 
  • A yes or no answer to the question seeking to find out whether an application was made in the UK
  • A yes or no answer to the question seeking to find out whether your fingerprints were used in any of the past applications. 

You’ll notice that some of these sub questions to the main question “Have you made any previous UK immigration applications in the UK or abroad?” include a condition-“if known”. This is to give you an option to leave out some details if you can’t trace them from your previous application. For instance, if you don’t have the reference number of an application that you made to the Home Office, you can leave the application reference number field of that application blank in your answer to the sub question requiring you to fill in the details.

Why is the Home Office Interested in My UK Immigration Application History?

Your integrity is one of the key areas that the Home Office officers focus on when giving a verdict about your application. Deception, which includes submission of fraudulent or false documentation, is one of the reasons why many UK immigration applications are rejected. If your application is rejected there is no right of appeal but only a judicial review by the Administrative Court, part of the High Court.  

Your past immigration applications give the Home Office a glimpse of your character. An accepted past application is an indication of your good character. 

On the other hand, if one of your past UK immigration applications was rejected, the UK immigration department will want to find out the reason for rejection. If the rejection was a result of evidence showing your criminality, deception, fraud or breach of some UK immigration rules, then the chances of your application succeeding are minimal. 

Nevertheless, you shouldn’t fail to disclose the required history comprehensively, even if some of your past applications were rejected. The Home Office has a robust system that will eventually unearth your history even if you try to conceal it. So, be fully truthful when you are answering the question because you can’t run away from the truth. 

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How Long Does it Take to Get a Certificate of Naturalisation?

After you’ve filled in your UK naturalisation application and the Immigration department ascertains that you qualify to become a British citizen, you’ll be issued with a certificate of naturalisation.     

In most cases, one has to wait for three to four months for their British naturalisation application to be processed. The duration is normally influenced by the caseload the Home Office is handling at the moment, as well as the complexity of an application. A straightforward application can be processed as soon as two months, while a complex one can take up to six months. 

What Happens If My UK Naturalisation Application is Rejected?

The rejection of your application is not the end of the road as far as your pursuit of becoming a British citizen is concerned. You can make another application at any time. However, aim at getting your first application accepted to save yourself both time and money. If you have previously overstayed in the UK during the history of your immigration before obtaining ILR, you may be advised when your application is rejected for bad character, not to make any further application until a given date. The same goes for if you have had any criminal convictions in the UK. The Home Office will tell you in rejecting your application not to make any further application until the conviction is regarded as spent under the Rehabilitation Acts. Some convictions such as murder/ manslaughter are never spent.  

Your response to the question “Have you made any previous UK immigration applications in the UK or abroad?” is a key determinant of whether your UK Naturalisation application will be accepted or not. Be honest when answering this question, as well as the rest of the information needed in the application. Get in touch with our immigration solicitors in case you need further personalised guidance on the Naturalisation application process. 

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